A New Dimension of Divine Wisdom
“AT THIS God said to Moses: ‘I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE.’ And he added: ‘This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, “I SHALL PROVE TO BE has sent me to you.”’” (Exodus 3:14) Jehovah explained to Moses that before this even His servants did not understand the full significance of His name. He is the God of purpose and always fulfills his will. If circumstances require, he can alter his method to achieve his purpose. He is that wise!
Satan himself did not appreciate what God’s name implied. Likely, he did know of the tree of life in the garden of Eden. If he had led Adam and Eve to it, that might have seemed to put Jehovah on the horns of a dilemma: either to keep his word that sin would mean their death or to keep his word as to the tree of life. (Genesis 2:9; 3:1-6) In any event, Satan was in for a disappointment.
God now began to demonstrate a wisdom unanticipated by his spirit sons and previously unrevealed to them. (Compare Ephesians 3:10.) He began to inaugurate a series of pronouncements and events that over a long period of time would marvelously demonstrate his great wisdom and his ability to fulfill his eternal purpose, which was to have the earth full of happy, loyal humans who could live forever in Paradise. (Genesis 1:27, 28) Time and again God would thwart Satan’s efforts to interfere.
The Sacred Secret Unfolds
Immediately after the first rebellion, God acted. He held court for the guilty couple and upheld his sanction of death for disobedience. What about Adam and Eve’s eating from the tree of life? “Jehovah God went on to say: ‘Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also from the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite,—’ With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eden.”—Genesis 3:17-23.
At this time God also undertook the role of Evangelizer, or Proclaimer of good news. He uttered the first prophecy: “Jehovah God proceeded to say to the serpent: . . . ‘I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.’” (Genesis 3:14, 15) Centuries later the apostle Paul explained: “For the [human] creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope.”—Romans 8:20.
Yes, man thereafter would be helplessly shackled to death inherited from Adam, but God was declaring his purpose to rescue Adam’s obedient offspring. Yet, what was “the basis of hope”? How could he rescue humans and still uphold his sentence of death for sin? This was to be God’s hidden wisdom; it involved “the sacred secret that was hidden from the past systems of things and from the past generations.” (Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 2:7, 8) Although faithful ones of old did not understand the secret, they did have a hope that somehow God would rescue them. Why, even the angels were eager to learn how Jehovah would fulfill his purpose! (1 Peter 1:10-12) Do you understand this sacred secret?
Redeemed by Ransom
Gradually over the centuries, Jehovah added information to his original promise. To faithful Abraham he promised a seed through whom blessings for all obedient humans would come. (Genesis 22:15-18) Through Jacob he revealed that the seed would be a king from the tribe of Judah. (Genesis 49:10) By this time godly men believed in a resurrection of the dead, although they could not fully understand how this was to be. (Job 14:14, 15; Hebrews 11:19) Finally, God promised David that the coming King, or Messiah, would be a descendant of David and would reign to time indefinite.—2 Samuel 7:16.
All the prophets added bits of understanding to the sacred secret, but men could not see the complete picture. Eventually, the time for the appearance of the Messiah arrived, and then, at long last, this greatly diversified wisdom of God became much clearer. It centered around Jesus Christ and the provision of his perfect human life as a corresponding ransom for mankind. With that as a basis, the rest of the glorious purpose of Jehovah through the Kingdom would proceed. Do you understand the ransom?
In Romans chapters 5 and 6, Paul gives a fine explanation of it. At Romans 5:12 he explains our inherited sin and death. He goes on to show how the effect of just one sin by perfect Adam and the forfeiture of life for his offspring could be balanced by another perfect human life. That proved to be the life of the “man Jesus Christ.” (Verses 15-21 of Ro 5; see also 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.) Why could Jesus provide this ransom? Because he was the Son of God, Jesus was “loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners.” (Hebrews 7:26; Luke 1:32, 33) We need not attempt to explain the details of the genetics of Jesus’ birth. The angel Gabriel assured Jesus’ mother, Mary, and us, that nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37) So Jesus, although born out of a female descendant of Adam, was the Son of God—actually a perfect man. His blood, or life, was worth far more than the blood of countless animals that had been sacrificed by the Aaronic priests of Israel at the temple in Jerusalem. He was “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”—John 1:29; 3:16.
Could God make this arrangement through Jesus and still be just? If God raised his Son to life on the third day, what happened to the ransom? Paul assures us that God is just. Follow his reasoning: “But by his mercy they are made upright for nothing [it being free], by the deliverance secured through Christ Jesus. For God showed him publicly dying as a sacrifice of reconciliation to be taken advantage of through faith. This was to vindicate his own justice (for in his forbearance, God passed over men’s former sins)—to vindicate his justice at the present time, and show that he is upright himself, and that he makes those who have faith in Jesus upright also.” (Romans 3:24-26, An American Translation) Now, what does this mean? Simply that Jesus, as a perfect, flesh-and-blood man, actually died as a man and remains dead as a man forever. He died “once for all time when he offered himself up.” (Hebrews 7:27) So the ransom is valid. Jesus died in the flesh; on the third day he was “made alive in the spirit.”—1 Peter 3:18.
The New Covenant and the New Creation
Now we see the crowning part of the sacred secret. Jesus’ being faithful to death qualifies him to be Jehovah’s High Priest and King. With his shed blood he validates a new covenant. This new covenant is to produce heavenly associates who will rule with Jesus as kings and priests. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:4, 6) They constitute a new nation, “a new creation,” and that certainly is something!—Galatians 6:15, 16.
Consider: God through Christ Jesus chooses a representative number out of mankind, both men and women. He can legally declare them righteous and call them to be spiritual sons. In God’s due season after their death, he resurrects them to heaven and grants them immortality, even as he rewarded Jesus. (1 Peter 1:3, 4) What confidence he has in his “new creation” and their loyalty to him! What an answer to the one who has falsely accused them before Jehovah! (Revelation 12:10) Although immortal with Jesus Christ, they will never be disloyal to Jehovah. But that is not all.
The Paradise Earth
Christ Jesus, with his associate heavenly kings and priests, will see to it that Jehovah’s purpose for man and the earth will be fully carried out during his Millennial Reign. Applying the benefits of the ransom, Jesus will resurrect the dead and will bring to human perfection the faithful ones among them and the survivors of the end of this wicked system. At the same time, the earth will be made a paradise. All who then reject Satan’s final effort to corrupt them will be granted perfect human life forever. Satan and all his evil crowd will be destroyed forever. Peace and unity will prevail in all creation, fully vindicating Jehovah’s sovereignty and his rule by love. Both angels and men will have demonstrated loyal love for their Creator and God.—Revelation, chapter 20.
Now we can better understand the sacred secret. Now we see Jehovah’s wisdom that excels even his creative designs in the plant and animal worlds. We have good reason to exclaim: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are . . . Because from him and by him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.”—Romans 11:33-36.
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The effect of one sin by perfect Adam and the forfeit of his life could be balanced. How? By another perfect human life, that of Jesus